Baldwin Acrosonic pianos are one of the most popular apartment sized pianos of all time – and for good reason!
Acrosonic pianos struck a balance between small size, quality sound, high-end materials, and a price that made them an enduring line of pianos.
If you are reading this because you’ve come into possession of an Acrosonic piano, I hope you find the information useful!
If you are considering buying an Acrosonic piano, read on to find out which styles are available, which era of Acrosonic is best, and the differences between the two models of Acrosonic pianos.
Who Made The Acrosonic Piano?
The Acrosonic piano was made by Baldwin – an American piano manufacturer with over 150 years of history as a popular piano maker. Baldwin is now owned by the Gibson Guitar Company.
Baldwin pianos are a household name in North America, where they are a popular and reputable piano manufacturer. The Baldwin company was started in the mid-19th Century, and thrived throughout the Great Depression and World War II.
By 1973, Baldwin had made over one million upright pianos, and they were in homes, churches, and studios across North America. The Acrosonic was one of many unique pianos that Baldwin manufactured.
What Is An Acrosonic Piano?
The Acrosonic piano was first manufactured and sold in 1936. Baldwin claimed that the piano had a supreme sound for an upright piano, and sold a lot of them.
Baldwin claims that the Acrosonic piano has sold more than any other model of all time! Baldwin trademarked Acrosonic, and continued to sell the pianos into the 80s.
If you found this article while researching a piano that was handed down to you through family or friends, there is a reason why they had an Acrosonic! They were popular pianos and tended to be among the better upright and spinet pianos on the market.
Spinet vs. Console Piano
The Acrosonic pianos that Baldwin manufactured can be divided into two categories: Spinet and Console pianos.
If you are not sure what these terms mean, check out our article on different kinds of pianos.
Console pianos are sometimes called apartment-sized pianos. They are a popular and common type of piano, because they are small. They sit around 44” high, and can fit in most apartments and homes.
Spinets on the other hand, are an unusual member of the upright piano family. They were popular in the 18th Century, but made a comeback in the 60s and 70s, partly thanks to the popularity of the Acrosonic piano.
Spinet pianos are about 36” tall and are the smallest acoustic piano available. They tend to produce the smallest sound of any piano, because their soundboard is small and the strings are short.
The biggest difference between a spinet and other types of upright pianos, is the action. Spinets use a drop action, where the keys are not connected to the action. This allows the keys to have a fast repetition rate.
Both the console and spinet version of the Acrosonic pianos used this action, and is a part of what made them unique and popular.
The Acrosonic Spinet Piano
The first Acrosonic piano was a spinet-style piano. Just 36” tall, it was designed to fit inside the smaller house structures of the day. These pianos were very popular at the time, because despite the small size, they had a powerful sound.
The sound of the Acrosonic spinet was also unique enough to be used in pop production in the 50s through to the 70s. They have the bright quality you would expect from a spinet, but enough power to carry a tune.
Check out this demo of an authentic Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano.
The Acrosonic spinet piano was made with a solid spruce soundboard. Cheaper spinet pianos were created with laminated plywood soundboards. Solid spruce vibrates more freely and delivers a better sound.
The Acrosonic Console Piano
The Acrosonic console piano eventually replaced the Acrosonic spinet. The console piano version is comparable to console pianos still being produced today – it has longer keys and a larger soundboard.
The console pianos became more popular than the spinet version because they have a clearly superior sound quality compared to the spinet version.
The Acrosonic console piano line ranged from 40” to 42” in height. Taller than the spinet, as you can see in the video.
The wood used for the cabinets were typically Mahogany, Pecan, and Dark Walnut. Each piano is distinctive looking. The console pianos had a little extra carving and decorative quality, which made them more popular as well.
What Do They Sound Like?
The Acrosonic spinets are arguably one of the best spinet pianos ever made. They were certainly one of the most popular!
The short strings in the small spinets give the piano a distinctive bell-like quality. It is a little thin, a little bright, a little brittle, but not unpleasant. To me, it is the perfect sound for playing rags or Elton John songs.
The Acrosonic console pianos have longer strings and a richer tone. They are still a little bright, a little bell-like, but overall, they have better tone and a deeper low-end.
All of the Acrosonic pianos had full blow, direct action. Remember – the action is all the wooden parts that move, including the hammer that strikes the strings.
In this style, the action sits on top of the capstan of the key, making the piano easier to maintain, tune, and repair. This is part of what made these pianos popular, because other cheaper spinets had drop-action, which sits behind the keys and is much harder and more expensive to repair.
The larger action contributed to a better touch and tone than other pianos of a similar size.
Why Are The Acrosonic Pianos Still Popular?
Baldwin Acrosonic pianos are still popular today – whether on classified listings, in used showrooms, or in your grandmother’s basement!
The reason for this is the availability, durability, and quality of the Acrosonic line.
As you know, Acrosonics were one of the best-selling console pianos ever. This means there are still many of them in good shape that could be a good choice for your living room. Availability means there are more on the market!
These pianos were also well-made. If they were properly taken care of and tuned, even an Acrosonic from the 50s will still sound great.
Even if the pianos were not properly cared for, they are like the Timex of pianos – they can take a licking, and keep on ticking!
Finally, they were good quality instruments, for the most part. Like any line of instruments that were produced over a long period of time, the Acrosonic line has better years than others.
Acrosonics produced in the 60s or earlier were good quality pianos made with solid wood and good craftsmanship.
Acrosonics produced in the 70s and 80s were cheaper and usually of a lesser quality. The Baldwin company was running on harder financial times through the 70s and 80s, and their pianos suffered as a result. They eventually went bankrupt in the late 80s.
How Much Do Acrosonic Pianos Weigh?
The Acrosonic pianos are a little heavier than one might expect, because they use good quality solid wood.
The spinet line of Acrosonic piano weighs around 300 pounds or 130 kilograms.
The console line of Acrosonic piano weighs a little more, at around 400 pounds and 180 kilograms. They are a little taller and feature more wood in the construction.
How Much Do Acrosonic Pianos Cost?
According to the Blue Book of Pianos, excellent condition Acrosonic pianos are going for anywhere from $1,000 to $2,800 USD.
An Acrosonic Spinet from 1943 was listed for $2,300 in excellent condition.
If the piano needs tuning or other maintenance, the asking price is usually around $1,000.
This is a very reasonable price for a good quality piano. That said, there are lots of these pianos out there, and you could likely get an even better price if you hung around classified listings.
Keep your eye on the free and cheap pianos in your area – if you see an Acrosonic, go and play it! If it is in good condition, offer to get it moved. You may end up with a very cheap piano, as people are often just trying to get rid of them.
Are Acrosonic Pianos Good For Beginners?
Acrosonic pianos have been an industry standard for decades. And they are familiar and recognizable, because of their proliferation and popularity.
So, the short answer is that Acrosonic pianos make for great beginner pianos. Here are several reasons why:
- Acrosonic pianos don’t take up a lot of space.
- They sound good and play well.
- They’re affordable.
- Acrosonic pianos come with matching benches. Since you’ll likely be buying used, you’ll need to check with the owner to see if they have the original bench.
All these qualities make the Acrosonic piano a good choice for beginners and students alike.
As noted earlier, though, you’ll want to check the condition of the piano before buying it. Also ensure the owner is asking a fair price for it. You don’t want to overspend on an old piano that might be worn down!
The good news is, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can often find a deal. So, stay patient and check in with the local classifieds often.
Final Thoughts On Baldwin Acrosonic Pianos
The Acrosonic line is a classic line of apartment sized pianos. Whether you opt for the spinet style or the console style is up to you – they both have advantages.
The spinet style is smaller and easier to move. It has a unique tone that could be desirable for recording pop music.
The console style is a little larger and heavier, but has a better sound. The console piano has longer strings and a larger soundboard – the sound is rich and deeper than that of the spinet.
Either way, if you have one of these pianos in your possession, take good care of it. It will treat you well for many years to come.